Learn everything you need to know to vote
- When To Vote | Early Voting | Helpful Hints on Voting Early by Mail | Special Procedures for Early Voting
- When To VoteFor information on voting by mail or voting early in person, please see the “Early Voting” section. Polls are open at various times during early voting and from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Election Day.
Important 2015 Election Dates
November 3, 2015 -- Uniform Election Date Authority conducting elections County Elections Officer/Local political subdivisions Deadline to post notice of candidate filing deadline Thursday, June 25, 2015 Saturday, July 25, 2015 for local political subdivisions that do not have a first day to file for their candidates First Day to File for Place on General Election Ballot1 Saturday, July 25, 2015 Last Day to Order General Election or Election on Measure Monday, August 24, 2015 Last Day to File for Place on General Election Ballot Monday, August 24, 2015 at 5:00 P.M. First Day to Apply for Ballot by Mail Tuesday, September 1, 2015 (does not apply to FPCA)
* NEW LAW: Effective September 1, 2015, there will no longer be a “first day” to file a regular application for ballot by mail.
Last Day to Register to Vote Monday, October 5, 2015 First Day of Early Voting Monday, October 19, 2015 Last Day to Apply for Ballot by Mail (Received, not Postmarked) Friday, October 23, 2015 (ABBM and FPCA*)
* NEW LAW: Effective September 1, 2015, the FPCA deadline is the same as the ABBM deadline.
Last Day of Early Voting Friday, October 30, 2015 Last day to Receive Ballot by Mail Tuesday, November 3, 2015 (election day) at 7:00 p.m. (unless overseas deadline applies)
Important 2016 Election Dates
March 1, 2016 - Primary Election A more detailed calendar will be available soon. First day to file for a place on the primary ballot for precinct chair candidates. Tuesday, September 15, 2015 First day to file for all other candidates for offices that are regularly scheduled to be on the Primary ballot. Saturday, November 14, 2015 Filing deadline for candidates; filing deadline for independent candidates to file intent declaration. Monday, December 14, 2015 at 6:00 PM First Day to Apply for Ballot by Mail (* NEW LAW: first day of calendar year for ABBM and FPCA) Friday, January 1, 2016*
*First day to file does not move because of New Year’s Day holiday. An “Annual ABBM” or FPCA for a January or February 2016 election may be filed earlier, but not earlier than the 60th day before the date of the January or February election.
First Day of Early Voting Tuesday, February 16, 2016*
*First business day after Presidents' Day
Last Day to Apply for Ballot by Mail (Received, not Postmarked) Friday, February 19, 2016
(* NEW LAW: 11th day before election day; regular ABBM and FPCA)
Last Day of Early Voting Friday, February 26, 2016 Last day to Receive Ballot by Mail Tuesday, March 1, 2016 (election day) at 7:00 p.m. (unless overseas deadline applies)
1Local political subdivisions might not have a "first day" to file. However, under new law, most local entities now have a first day to file. Write-in deadlines for general and special elections also vary; the deadline for most local (city, school, other) general elections is now the same day as the filing deadline for application for a place on the ballot in a May election or November of an odd-numbered year; special election write-in rules vary, see long calendars for details.
Generally, the filing deadline is the 71st day prior to Election Day (78th day prior to November General Election in even-numbered years); however, the Election Code may provide a different special election filing deadline. See Section 201.054 of the Texas Election Code.
- Early Voting
Many Texans vote early. Texas enables residents to vote in the days and weeks before an election to make the voting process more convenient and accessible. There are two ways to vote early: by showing up in person during the prescribed early voting period or by voting by mail.
Vote early in person.
Generally, early voting in person begins the 17th day before Election Day (if that’s a weekend, early voting starts on Monday) and ends the 4th day before election day. (EXCEPTION: Early voting for elections held in May starts the 12th day before Election Day and ends on the 4th day before Election Day.) Vote at a location in your political subdivision that’s close to where you live or work. All other voting rules and procedures apply – e.g., eligibility, identification, polling hours.
Vote early by mail.You may vote early by mail if:
- You will be away from your county on Election Day and during early voting;
- You are sick or disabled;
- You are 65 years of age or older on Election Day; or
- You are confined in jail, but eligible to vote.
- The Secretary of State’s office
- The Early Voting Clerk in your county; or
- Download an application for a ballot by mail here.
If you are voting early because of an expected absence, you may apply in person for a ballot by mail before the early “voting in person” period begins (usually the 17th day before the election).
If you are voting by mail because you are disabled or are 65 years of age or older, you may use a single application to request ballots by mail for all county elections in the calendar year. To do so, simply mark “Annual Application” on your application for a ballot by mail when selecting the election for which you are applying.
You can write your own application for a ballot by mail, as long as it contains:
- Your signature, or a witness’s signature if you cannot sign;
- Your name and the address at which you are registered to vote;
- The address to which the ballot is to be mailed;
- The election date and the election for which you are requesting a ballot, or a statement that you would like ballots for all county elections remaining in the calendar year, if you are eligible (for a primary election, you must state the political party’s primary in which you want to vote); and
- A reason why you are eligible to vote early by mail. To be eligible to vote early because you expect to be out of the county, your application must state the out-of-county address where you want your ballot mailed.
- November 3, 2015 Uniform Election: September 4, 2015 – October 23, 2015
- Regular mail;
- Common or contract carrier; or
- Fax (if a fax machine is available to the Early Voting Clerk)
- Helpful Hints on Voting Early by MailVoting by mail in Texas has been available to elderly voters and voters with physical disabilities for decades. Remember, however, that many of the legal safeguards designed to protect voters and their ballots are impossible to enforce in the privacy of the voter’s home. Here are a few tips that may prove helpful.
- Call your local or county office holding the election or the Secretary of State’s office and request that an application to vote by mail be sent to you, or download the application here. (PDF)
- If you need help filling out the form or mailing it, ask someone you trust to help you. Your helper’s name and address must be written next to your signature and they must sign the application.
- Address your application to the Early Voting Clerk. Applications mailed to an address other than the Early Voting Clerk will be rejected.
- Send your application for a ballot by mail as early as 60 days before an election. This will give you plenty of time to receive your ballot, mark it, and mail it back to the Early Voting Clerk. All applications to vote by mail must be received by the early voting clerk before the close of regular business or 12 noon, whichever is later. Applications to vote by mail must be submitted by mail, common or contract carrier, or fax (if a fax machine is available in the office of the early voting clerk).
- If you are voting by mail because you are disabled or are 65 years of age or older, you may use a single application to request ballots by mail for all county elections in the calendar year. While you can submit this “annual” application anytime during the calendar year, it must be received at least 9 days before the first election in which you seek to request a ballot by mail.
- Generally, a ballot must be mailed to the address where you are registered to vote. However, if you are 65 or older or have a physical disability, you may have your ballot sent to a hospital, nursing home or long-term care facility, retirement center, or relative, but you must check the blank on the form indicating which address you are providing. If your reason for voting by mail is absence from the county, the ballot must be mailed to an address outside the county.
- If you need help reading, marking, or mailing the actual ballot, ask a trusted relative or friend for help. It’s not uncommon for someone from a political organization to offer to help with your ballot soon after you’ve received it. We recommend you decline this kind of help for several reasons. If you allow your ballot to be mailed by someone you don’t know, it might not be mailed at all. If it’s delivered to the elections office by a common or contract carrier from the address of a candidate or a campaign’s headquarters, your ballot will be rejected.
- Finally, if someone helps you with your mail ballot, you must put your helper’s name and address on the carrier envelope, which is the one used to return your ballot to the early voting clerk. Your helper must also sign the carrier envelope.
- 60 days before Election Day — first day to submit an early voting by mail application
- 17 days before Election Day (12 days for May election) — early voting in person begins
- 9 days before Election Day — last day to submit an application for ballot by mail
- 4 days before Election Day — early voting in person ends
- Special Procedures for Early Voting
Procedure for People who have moved from one Texas county to another Texas county
A. Limited Ballot. [Sec. 112.001]
1. The Election Code authorizes voting a limited ballot after changing county of residence.
2. A person voting a limited ballot under this chapter is entitled to vote only on each office or measure to be voted in a territorial unit (state or district) of which the person was a resident both before changing their county of residence and after the change.
B. Eligibility. [Sec. 112.002]
1. After changing residence to another county, a person is eligible to vote a limited ballot by personal appearance or by mail if:
a. the person would have been eligible to vote in the county of former residence on election day if still residing in that county; and
b. the person is registered to vote in the county of former residence at the time the person
1. offers to vote in the county of new residence; or
2. submitted a voter registration application in the county of new residence; and
c. a voter registration for the person in the county of new residence is not effective on or before election day.
2. A person is not eligible to vote a limited ballot by mail unless, in addition to satisfying the eligibility requirements prescribed above, the person is eligible to vote early by mail under the standard early by mail rules.
C. Submitting Request for Mail Ballot. [Sec. 112.005]
An application for a limited ballot to be voted by mail under this chapter must be submitted to the early voting clerk serving the election precinct in which the applicant currently resides.
D. Place for Voting by Personal Appearance. [Sec. 112.006]
A person may vote a limited ballot by personal appearance only at the main early voting polling place.
E. Verifying Registration Status of Applicant for Ballot. [Sec. 112.007]
1. Before providing a limited ballot to the applicant, the early voting clerk must verify, if possible, that the applicant does not have an effective voter registration in the county of new residence.
2. If the person has applied in the county of new residence for a voter registration that will be effective on or before Election Day, the limited ballot application must be rejected.
F. Notification to Voter Registrar. [Sec. 112.012]
Not later than the 30th day after receipt of an application for a limited ballot, the early voting clerk must notify the voter registrar of the voter’s former county of residence that the voter has applied for a limited ballot.
Procedure for Voters Moving from Texas to Another State
Voting Presidential Ballot by Former Resident.
A. “Presidential Ballot.” [Sec. 113.001]
The Election Code authorizes voting a presidential ballot for president and vice-president under certain circumstances.
SUM: the procedure helps former residents of Texas who have recently moved to another state but did not register in time to vote in the new state.
B. Eligibility. [Sec. 113.002]
A former resident is eligible to vote a presidential ballot under this chapter by personal appearance or by mail if the former resident:
1. is domiciled in another state;
2. was registered to vote in Texas at the time the former resident ceased to be a resident;
3. would be eligible for registration to vote in this state if a resident; and
4. on presidential election day, will not have resided in the state of present domicile for more than 30 days and is not eligible to vote in the presidential election in that state.
C. Submitting Request for Mail Ballot. [Sec. 113.003]
An application for a presidential ballot to be voted by mail under this chapter must be submitted to the early voting clerk serving the county of the applicant’s most recent registration to vote.
D. Place for Voting by Personal Appearance. [Sec. 113.004-113.005]
1. The total time period for voting this ballot by personal appearance is the early voting period, plus the early voting clerk’s regular office hours between early voting and Election Day, then on Election Day.
a. A person may vote a presidential ballot by personal appearance only at the main early voting polling place for the county of the person’s most recent registration to vote.
b. The period for voting presidential ballots under chapter 13 by personal appearance ends on presidential Election Day.
c. Beginning on the day after the last day of the period for early voting by personal appearance and through presidential election day, the dates and hours for voting presidential ballots by personal appearance are the dates and hours that the county clerk’s main business office is regularly open for business.
2. Personal Appearance Voting; Processing Results.
a. On submission of an application for a presidential ballot to be voted by personal appearance, the early voting clerk shall review the application and verify the applicant’s registration status in accordance with the procedure applicable to early voting by mail.
b. The personal appearance voting shall be conducted with the balloting materials for early voting by mail.
c. The voter must mark and seal the ballot in the same manner as if voting by mail, except that the certificate on the carrier envelope need not be completed.
d. On sealing the carrier envelope, the voter must give it to the clerk, who shall note on the envelope that the ballot is a presidential ballot.
e. The results of voting a presidential ballot by personal appearance shall be processed in accordance with the procedures applicable to processing early voting ballots voted by mail.
E. Notification to Voter Registrar. [Sec. 113.006]
1. As soon as practicable after the close of voting, the early voting clerk shall notify the voter registrar of the name of each person who applied for a presidential ballot whose name appears on the list of registered voters.
2. On receipt of the notice, the voter registrar shall cancel the voter’s registration.